Black lives matter


Black: 1989

Breast Cancer: 2019

Chemo caused temporary hair loss but learning to love my kinky hair took 25 years. 

Waiting to hear back from a scan is a lot like waiting to hear of a conviction for Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery. The scan HAS to be clean; they HAVE to be guilty.

Constipation is like hearing the president refer to your motherland as a “shithole.” 

My blood pressure rises faster when a cop car is behind me than getting a call from my doctor. 

Surgery is a lot like conforming and stripping my true self to make my blackness more palatable. If I chop this or hack that out of my personality or looks, I just might survive. 

When the radiation tech says, “Hold your breath” I remember their last words: “I can’t breathe.”

Insomnia. Awake and alone. Just like being the only person of color in a room.

All lives matter sounds as silly as saying all phlebotomists are created equal.

Can you imagine a hot flash lasting eight minutes and forty-six seconds? 

Binge watching executions by cops are a lot like over researching survival odds. Am I next?

If trashing all my stored eggs could bring back Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice, I would have done so yesterday. 

I’m convinced… Freedom for Black people might resemble hearing the words “No Evidence of Disease.”

Remission: 2020


Black lives matter

Alicia Boulware. Leadership Gift Officer, University of California, Berkeley. Diagnosed at 30. IDC, Stage III, Triple Negative. As a proud Bay native, Alicia was raised in Silicon Valley and lives in Oakland, California. As a sociologist, she prides herself on finding ways to uplift and strengthen the most vulnerable members of her community and beyond, including through activism. After treatment, Alicia resumed her profession in philanthropy as a fundraiser. In her free time, she serves as a Board Member for Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS) and mentors foster youth in Alameda County through the nationwide CASA program.

This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the “Bay Area Young Survivors” issue, published originally February 10th, 2021. More information available at   

Every month, Rethink shares powerful stories and poetry from WILDFIRE Magazine. Use code RETHINK for 10% off anything in the WILDFIRE Shop.

WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit for more info.

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